Again in 2012, when Palakkad-native Vijayakumar Narayanan returned from Muscat after toiling in numerous jobs for 20 years, he was uncertain of what to do subsequent. He might all the time farm at his ancestral home in Nanniyode however what?
So he pored over books about new farming methods and crops which have been appropriate for Kerala’s local weather. The arithmetic graduate lastly determined to go ahead with aquaponics, a technique that entails a mix of aquaculture and hydroponics. The vitamins from fish excreta enrich the water which is then used for the crops.
“Whereas working in Muscat I attended just a few lessons about hydroponics farming which is the strategy of farming with out using soil. Aquaponics is analogous however extra natural with an added benefit of double earnings from fish as properly,” says the 52-year-old to The Higher India.
However what pushed him in the direction of aquaponics was a specific incident within the 2012 monsoon. There was an enormous tree in Vijayakumar’s yard which collapsed leaving an enormous gap within the land. It was full of water due to the rains and he determined to make use of the pit as a tank.
At this time, his fish tank consists of tilapia, carp and even small crabs. “I feed them pure feed equivalent to rice bran, coconut and groundnut oil cake that are comparatively cheap and natural,” he says.
Within the surrounding space of the tank, Vijayakumar planted numerous forms of greens like broccoli, lettuce, spinach, mint, tomato, okra, chillies, brinjal and extra.
Ammonia from the fish waste incorporates nitrites and nitrates shaped by means of bacterial motion which is a perfect fertiliser for crops. Even the banana crops in Vijayakumar’s yard are supplied with nutrient-rich water to get good yields.
“The largest benefit of aquaponics is that by spending for the feed of fish alone one can harvest good yields from each fish and vegetable farming. There weren’t many aquaponic farms in Kerala after I began. So, I additionally began an establishment referred to as Nanniyode Aquaponics Analysis and Growth Centre (NARDC) in my village. Right here, I present lessons on aquaponics natural farming, built-in aquaculture, polyhouse/rain shelter horticulture (design, administration, mentoring, operations), organic pest administration, natural farming, business enterprise growth help and extra,” explains the agripreneur.
NARDC additionally conducts check manufacturing and yield trials of heirloom, hybrid and imported seed varieties in numerous Built-in Aquaponics System (IAS) settings. “We additionally produce and promote dwell fish, recent greens and poison-less greens and fruits to native Neighborhood Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscribers, gross sales of heirloom and hybrid plant seeds, fish seedlings and aquaponics equipment. NARDC additionally works in partnership with governments, universities, NGOs, non-public sector organisations, particular person farmers and franchisees to develop aquaponics techniques,” he says.
Up to now, Vijayakumar has skilled greater than 5,000 farmers from a number of elements of the nation, each on-line and offline, not simply in aquaponics however in numerous different arenas of agriculture. He additionally initiates social franchising of aquaponic farms by means of his establishment. “I’ve assisted in organising farms in Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Wayanad, Goa, Telangana, Coimbatore and even Gulf international locations,” he provides.
Much less house, greater consequence
“To place collectively an aquaponics farm, all you want is a 2-cent land (~lower than 900 sq ft) out of which one cent is devoted to the fish pond and the remaining for the crops. You may develop as much as two tonnes of fish in such a tank. Tilapia is the only option, particularly for a newbie. By no means get into this farming with out taking correct lessons about it as it’s utterly completely different from regular farming,” says the cultivator.
Vijayakumar provides that testing the pH worth of water is a should earlier than depositing the fish infants. Vegetation are to be grown on sheets of gravel laid on the banks of a pond. Essentially the most appropriate sand for cultivation is quartz silica, which has extra natural parts than river sand. Two pumps are wanted for blowing air into the pond and for pumping water on the gravel the place crops are grown. “All these might be purchased below subsidies by the horticulture division,” he says.
Nearly all forms of greens might be grown this manner, besides tubers, says Vijayakumar. “Airborne pest assaults could occur however biopesticides can management this utterly,” he assures.
“I earn as much as Rs 4 lakh per yr from this sort of farming. The earnings will enhance primarily based on the realm and funding,” provides the aquaponics guide who’s all set to launch a big aquaponics undertaking quickly – The Venus Mission. “We intention to feed about 130 individuals (30 households) with clear, recent and extremely nutritious fish, greens and fruits year-round. We hope to offer the meals domestically by means of weekly packages primarily based on subscriptions,” he claims.
The passionate agripreneur provides that the infrastructure is nearly prepared and the subsequent steps are to plant the seeds, add the fish and start the operation.
To get in contact with Vijayakumar Narayanan, contact +91 81292 19282 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edited by Yoshita Rao
Picture credit: Vijayakumar Narayanan